Cyprus considering Casino Gambling to generate €50m Annually

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Cyprus is currently mired in a banking crisis that’s hit the country pretty hard. In fact, some residents accepted losses on their bank deposits in order to meet conditions for an International Monetary Fund loan worth €10 billion.

With the tiny island nation still in dire need of money, President Nicos Anastasiades is now considering measures that would allow casino gambling across the entire country. This is quite a controversial move too because the Orthodox church, which has a powerful influence in Cyprus, is strongly against casinos.

At this point, only the Turkish-ruled North Cyprus operates casinos within the area. However, that would all change if President Anastasiades’ plan comes to fruition. According to a 2007 government-run study, it’s predicted that Cyprus casinos could bring in €50 million in annual tax revenue.

This country has a very interesting history with gambling. When Turkey invaded the island in 1974, they took over the north territory, which is unofficially called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Since that time, North Cyprus has opened 20 casinos, which draw many regular Cyprus residents. That said, the nation continues to lose out on gambling revenue.

Nevertheless, Cyprus government officials banned land-based and online casinos last year. Of course, the government is quickly backing-tracking on this move with the country on the brink of bankruptcy.

Even the Republic of Northern Cyprus’ president, Dervis Eroglu, feels bad about his southern neighbor’s financial situation. Dervis said, “The fact that our southern neighbors have gone into this kind of crisis does not please us.” He added, “This may be one of the factors that is likely to delay a settlement. It may also force our good friend Mr Anastasiades to spend all his energy on economic problems and have less time to devote to the negotiation process.”

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